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Husbands birthday dinner


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I don't know how I missed this thread until now, but what a lovely birthday dinner you've done for your husband, Klary!

I'm moving to Michigan with my fiance in two months, and he may actually be my husband by the time his birthday rolls around in September... you're making me think, this would be a good idea. However, I'm not sure how many people would come - I think just us, this year!

How do you get your husband to say what types of dishes he likes? I have the HARDEST time getting preferences out of my boy - he says everything I make is "good" or "really great" or some such. Of course it's all better than frozen pizzas, but I want to know what he LIKES!

At any rate, I am certainly envious of your guests, and congratulations to you on pulling off such a wonderful feast.


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Lovely party and great menu, Klary.

I gather that what you really got sick of was the time-consuming monotony of making all that fresh pasta and rolling out the noodles, even if cutting sheets is less daunting a task than making all those doubled-up, scalloped-edged rounds of stuffed pasta. :raz: After all, you prepared a gob-smacked (usage?) number of dishes; this remains a rather ambitious, lovingly presented meal!

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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  • 11 months later...

Hi everybody :smile:

I'm sorry to announce there will be no big birthdaydinner this year. :sad: Don't worry, I still have a husband, and he has his birthday next week. But there are circumstances which made us decide to skip the big dinner this year, or at least postpone it. We're moving in a couple of weeks, and between sorting out all our stuff, packing, and keeping the current house in perfect condition for the viewings, I just wasn't up to it.

But, there will be a small and simple and very casual get together for the family this weekend, and because it seems so sad to not post on this thread this year, I will report about that, and ask your advice :smile:

here's what I have planned for 7 people. This is for our parents, who like 'plain' food, nothing too spicy, nothing too weird. But ofcourse it also has to please Dennis, after all it's his party!


the tiny appetizer version of these smoked eel rolls

shrimp cocktail

devilled egs


leek soup with fresh tarragon

celeriac, bacon and mushroom quiche (I'm making these in muffinpans so they're like individual tarts)

a big green salad

I feel this needs something else. Ideas?

For dessert I want to make something special but preferably without a zillion calories. I'm really at a loss there.

all advice very much appreciated

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  • 11 months later...

Bumping this up because it's that time of year again, and I could use some advice!

We skipped the dinner last year because we were in the middle of moving to a new apartment. This year, there will be a dinner, but my life is busier than ever, so I'm trying real hard to restrain myself and have a relaxed dinner that will make the guests happy and will not give me a nervous breakdown.

This is what I have planned so far:

main - Musakhan, a dish of chicken spiced with sumac, nutmeg and cinnamon. The chicken is baked on a bed of torn flat bread. I made this earlier this week and it was really good, simple yet interesting and unusual.

dessert - as requested by my husband it will be this (but hopefully a bit more elegantly plated): semolina cake, poached quinces, quince vodka syrup, mascarpone.

I could really use some ideas for a first course and side dishes.

For the first course I'm thinking of a variety of appetizers. They don't need to be Middle eastern per se, but it would be nice if they sort of fit with that theme. Because the chicken dish has bread in it, the most obvious choice (flat bread with various dips etc) doesn't appeal to me. So I'm thinking some kind of salad/ or a pastry maybe? Also, this is the 15th birthday dinner I'm cooking for roughly the same group of friends, and there have been Middle eastern themed dinners before where hummus, baba ghanoush etc made an appearance - and as deliicious as they can be.. I would really like to not repeat myself.

As one side dish for the chicken I'm thinking of Bazargan, a bulgur salad with walnuts and tamarind and herbs, and a spinach salad with feta and pomegranate seeds. But I think this may need another (warm) vegetable dish.

All advice very much appreciated!

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I have recently gotten hooked on stewed lima beans at a couple of local Greek restaurants.. they both called the dish Gigantes

No recipe but there was definatly onions and tomatoes and the creamiest huge Lima beans I have ever had


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers


Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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I made these Greek Salad Skewers for our Super Bowl party, and everyone loved them.

Another idea (and I think this could be a do a day in advance one) is dates stuffed with goat cheese and toasted almonds. I had these at some fancy party not too long ago, and they disappeared in a split second.

Or, what about some sort of dip of seafood thing in lettuce cups or endive spears?

A warm veg idea is slow simmered green beans with a little bit of tomato -- you could season this as you think appropriate.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Hi, Chufi--

Hope the new apartment is working out well.

I suspect your idea of "restraint" in menu planning is not everyone's, but two ideas occurred to me for first courses that don't involve bread. One truly is super easy (and delicious): shrimp in the shell, sauteed in olive oil with garlic, a bit of paprika, and a lot of cumin. You don't even have to peel the shrimp; the guests get to do that as they slurp the delicious juices. Give 'em a bowl for the shells. The other would be some sort of gougeres; maybe you can fuss with the seasoning or the kind of cheese to make the Middle Easternish.

I do love gigantes, and those stuffed dates snowangel suggested sound pretty tasty, too.

I think back fondly on Amsterdam last year. That seems like forever ago.

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A nice vegetable side dish might be a warm butternut squash and chickpea salad with tahini dressing. Recipe here.

Meatballs either on skewers or in lettuce cups could be good in an appetizer smorgasbord.

Lentil soup with merguez for a first course?

Edited by jm chen (log)

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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I love musakhan :wub: and need to make it more often!

If you want an appetizer with a Middle East them, you might try the "stuffed cigars" I make. These are ground meat (beef or lamb) cooked with tomato sauce, onion, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, honey, cooled, then rolled in phyllo pastry. These can be made ahead, frozen, then brushed with melted butter, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, and baked in the oven for about 20 minutes. You can serve them as is, or a dip with yogurt and curry, salsa, etc.

PM me if you'd like the recipe.



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in today's Parade Magazine in our local newspaper tehre was a recipe for Chickpea Ragout that used garlic, cumin, chickpeas, tomatoes, thyme honey, lemon juice and broth. it isn't online yet but i can pm it to you if you would like...

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.


Linda Ellerbee

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dinner plans are shaping up nicely, thanks to all your great suggestions!

markemorse - what kind of dish combines chickpeas, tomatoes and saffron? Example, please?

M'nazzali. A Lebanese vegetarian peasant stew. The recipe in the link is for a dietetic version. Saffron can be added for color. It can also be served as soup.

I have a recipe if you want one.

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dinner plans are shaping up nicely, thanks to all your great suggestions!

markemorse - what kind of dish combines chickpeas, tomatoes and saffron? Example, please?

I was thinking of the flavors of two things: harira, and a Spanish thing I saw Jose Andres do...something like this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Final menu:

- Avocado/grapefruit salad in endive leaves

- Blue cheese/ walnut/celery on toast

- The Morroccan filo pastries Dejah mentioned upthread - she pm'd me the recipe, I made 4 dozen on Monday and froze them. I baked just one to see if it was any good :hmmm: it was great! Spicy and sweet. They will be served, 3 per person (they're small) on a little herb salad with a honey/mustard dressing.

- Chicken Musakhan

- Butternut squash and chickpea salad as mentioned upthread, minus the raw red onion in the recipe, and with the addition of some spinach

- Bulgur pilaf with eggplant and garnished with little pieces of fried halloumi and mint

- Pickles and olives (ready made turkish pickled peppers)

- Basbousa, poached quinces, quince vodka syrup, mascarpone cream, candied pistachios.

Looking at this, it really does not seem too stressfull... or is that just wishful thinking... I'll poach the quinces tonight and make the basbousa and candied pistachios on Friday.

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